Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Reflection: Can we consider, for a moment, what was going on when these words were spoken by Jeremiah, a prophet of God. When Jeremiah communicated the plans of the Lord, in v. 29:11, he did so to people who had been taken from their homeland and were being held captive in Babylonia. What’s interesting about this captivity is that Jeremiah had previously told them, in v. 29:5-10, to build houses and settle down. Jeremiah instructed the captives to plant gardens and eat what they grow, marry and have children and allow their children to marry so that they may continue to increase and not decrease. He told them to seek the peace and prosperity of the land in which they had been exiled, and Pray to God for the place they had been deported to, because when prosperity comes to this land they will prosper as well.
My goodness! What a hard pill to swallow. If this were me, I could see myself wailing why isn’t God coming to my rescue right now? Why do I have to become familiar with a place I’m being forced into? Jeremiah told them – don’t look at what you see, the Lord has declared He has other plans for you. Don’t look at your children and become discouraged, the Lord has plans. Don’t be discouraged about your job – be encouraged that something more is in your future. Don’t look at your marriage and wonder if you need to give up or keep trying, the Lord is working on something greater for your future. Don’t look at this new day – new year – and feel trepidation, the Lord has plans for your life! And His plans are never to harm you, but to give you hope and a future. Be intentional about what you focus on in the coming days. The Lord wants you to keep moving forward.
It’s when we focus on the struggle, the hurt, the disappointment, the broken places, that we become those things. In this brand-new year I challenge you to take your focus off of 2018. It may have been hard, you may have been stuck somewhere you didn’t want to be, and you may still be there, but don’t let it keep you from flourishing in 2019. God has a plan for each of us, and although we may not know what it is, we know, for certain, that God has already worked it out in our favor.
Prayer: All-Knowing and All-Powerful God…thank You! Thank You for Your word that still applies to my life today. Thank You for giving me hope and a future – even when I can’t see it. I pray that You will give me the patience to see past my current situation and the faith to know that You have everything under control. As we start this New Year I will continue to look to Your word for guidance and be unwavering in my trust of You. Through the good times, and the not so good, I will continue to trust in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.